How can a common-size income statement help analysis of Pandora’s results of operations in 2015 compared to 2014?

Pandora Internet Radio by Pandora Media (P) is a streaming music service.  Its free advertising-supported radio service was first launched in 2005.  Pandora users streamed 20.03 billion hours of internet radio during 2014. In December 2014, there were 81.5 million active users of Pandora, making it the largest streaming music service currently. Pandora has a database of over 1,000,000 songs from over 125,000 artists.

Pandora offers its streaming music through two services:

  1. Free Service: This option allows the listener access to the music by including advertisements.
  2. Pandora One: This option is a paid subscription model without any advertisements; it also allows users to have more daily skips and longer listening times.

While Pandora currently has plenty of cash from its investors, it has yet to generate a profit since its inception. Pandora is facing increasing competition from sources such as Apple Music (approximately 6.5 million subscribers in 2015), Spotify (approximately 20 million paid subscribers in 2015), and other streaming services.  In addition, Pandora’s costs in some areas are increasing.

Pandora recently released its earnings for the third quarter of 2015.  Earnings were less than expected by investors and Pandora’s stock price fell sharply. At the end of this posting, excerpts from Pandora’s statement of operations is provided, both in dollars and in common-size formats. Use those excerpts to answer the questions.

Questions

  1. Using the statement of operations excerpt in dollars, what can you say about how Pandora is doing in the third quarter of 2015 compared to the third quarter of 2014? What can you say about how Pandora is doing for the nine months ended September 2015 compared to September 2014? Can you tell if the rate of increase is greater for revenues or expenses from 2014 to 2015?  Why or why not?
  2. Using the statement of operations excerpt in dollars again, why is the loss from operations larger in 2015 than in 2014?
  3. Using the common-size statement of operations excerpt, what can you say about how Pandora is doing in the third quarter of 2015 compared to the third quarter of 2014? What can you say about how Pandora is doing for the nine months ended September 2015 compared to September 2014? Is the rate of increase is greater for revenues or expenses from 2014 to 2015?
  4. Using the common-size statement of operations excerpt again, why is the loss from operations larger in 2015 than in 2014? Also, what can you say about the mix of advertising revenue versus subscription revenue?
  5. Which statement (dollars versus common-size) is more useful for analyzing the financial performance of Pandora in this case? Explain.

Instructor Resources

These resources are provided to give the instructor flexibility for use of Accounting in the Headlines articles in the classroom. The blog posting itself can be assigned via a link to this site OR by distributing the student handout below. Alternatively, the PowerPoint file below contains a bullet point overview of the article and the discussion questions.

  • Student handout (pdf) (word) (contains entire blog posting + discussion questions)
  • Excel file (this blog posting has an Excel file containing the Pandora financial statement excerpts)
  • PowerPoint file (brief article overview + discussion questions)

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

About Dr. Wendy Tietz, CPA, CMA, CGMA

Dr. Wendy Tietz is a professor of accounting at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, USA. She is also a textbook author with Pearson Prentice-Hall.

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